Bulls big man Robin Lopez has his demands as trade deadline approaches
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Bulls big man Robin Lopez has a list of demands, especially with the trade deadline staring him in the face.
They’re just not the type of demands other players around the NBA might have. They’re not even the type of demands Lopez should have, considering all he has sacrificed the last two seasons.
No, his demands are more about staying focused, putting in the work and demanding that his teammates do the same.
But a demand to be traded from the Bulls’ 12-win circus? That’s not in Lopez’s makeup.
‘‘Maybe [the trade talk has] been a little louder than in past seasons, but I’ve been on the block in years past,’’ Lopez said Monday when asked about the trade deadline Thursday. ‘‘It’s pretty much the same for me where I just have to take it one day at a time.
‘‘I’m not sure what the mindset for everyone is, but it feels like we’ve all been focused on our jobs. Whatever has gone on the past few seasons, we’ve always kept that mentality of being invested in one another as teammates.
‘‘There’s possibly a little bit of [speculation] going on right now, but nobody has come to me and [asked about trades]. We’re just getting on the floor and going to work.’’
Lopez has been a part of trade rumors since last season, and those whispers grew louder after the Bulls dealt Justin Holiday to the Grizzlies last month. Even Lopez admitted he thought he would be the other shoe to drop.
The NBA market is fickle, however, and trade talk about Lopez has quieted, according to a league source.
Meanwhile, all Lopez does — and has done since last season — is go out and do whatever is asked of him. Start, come off the bench, not play at all, whatever — and with no questions asked.
‘‘That sacrifice has always been a part of my game,’’ Lopez said. ‘‘I played with [twin brother] Brook and Quincy Pondexter on my high school team, so I’m used to trying to help out others on the floor. That’s the role I’ve embraced and have grown to enjoy.’’
But for how much longer? Lopez is 30 and has reached the postseason only four times in his career. At what point does he make it about himself?
‘‘I’ve played a little bit in May and June; not June so much, but May,’’ Lopez said. ‘‘It’s been a little bit. I’ve always been the guy on the floor trying to help everybody else out. That’s how my whole career has been, going down to Little Hoopsters in peewee basketball, so I really just embrace that.’’
It will be interesting to see whether the Bulls will buy him out if they can’t trade him, so he can go where he wants. There has been talk that the Warriors might be interested, but Lopez won’t be beating down the front-office doors for answers.
‘‘I’m going to let my agent worry about that,’’ Lopez said when he was asked about a buyout scenario. ‘‘I’ve always handled it like that. It’s the best way for me. It keeps my mind fresh, keeps it organized.’’
NOTE: Forward Wayne Selden Jr. (knee) and guard Kris Dunn (bruised pelvis) didn’t practice Monday and are considered day-to-day. Dunn actually went to see team doctors, but coach Jim Boylen said he didn’t think either injury would be ‘‘a long thing.’’
NOTE: The Sun-Times has confirmed a report that the Bulls have been in contact with the Lakers about a Jabari Parker for Kentavious Caldwell-Pope deal, but Caldwell-Pope has no-trade rights and as of Monday night indications were the Bulls weren’t a team he was interested in.